March 30, 2004
Atlanta, Ga. - After hitting a walkoff home run in extra innings in a win over Davidson, WCU junior right fielder Chad McKown had what proved to be the game-winning hit in the Catamounts' 10-9 13-inning victory over Georgia State Tuesday evening at Panthersville Field. Also playing a key role in Western Carolina's win was a two-out, two-run single by Clint Ramsey in the 13th and the pitching of sophomore Jeremy Ellenburg, who improves to 2-0.
In the top of the 13th with the game tied at 7-7, Western (12-15) got a leadoff single by Todd Roper then Chris Davis reached on an error while sacrificing Roper to second. Jared Greenwood followed with a sac bunt, moving Roper and Davis to third and second, respectively. The Panthers intentionally walked Matt Nelson to load the bases. After a strikeout, Ramsey, who entered earlier in the game as a pinch hitter, got his second hit of the game, driving in Roper and Davis with a single down the left field line. Denver Edick was walked to load the bases once again, setting the stage for McKown's an infield RBI single, making the score 10-7.
Georgia State (10-16) got consecutive singles by Bennett and Brian Williams to start the bottom of the 13th and chase Ellenburg. New WCU pitcher Brian McCullen was welcomed by a single from Cole Reissing, loading the bases with no outs. Ryan Clark was walked, driving in Bennett and making the score 12-10. Newman then cut the Panther deficit to one, plating Williams with a sacrifice fly to center. McCullen got a fly out for the third out and pick up his first career save.
Ellenburg, who got the win in WCU's victory over Davidson on Sunday, improved to 2-0 on the year. Coming into the game with just 7.0 career innings pitched, the sophomore from Forest City, N.C., pitched 5.0-plus innings in getting his second win of his career. Ellenburg allowed three hits and two runs with three walks and two strikeouts. McCullen allowed one hit and one walk with a strikeout to earn the save.
Georgia State took advantage of a Catamount error to put two unearned runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Ryan Sterling reached a fielding error to third. Two batters later, Charlie Pelt sent a ball over the left-center field fence for a two-run home run, his fourth homer of the season.
In the top of the third, the bottom third of the WCU order got things started for the Cats, tying the game at 2-2. Dustin Penland drew a leadoff walk and Brandon Zollman followed with a bunt single. After a wild pitch, McKown plated Penland with a single to center. Zollman later scored on a passed ball to tie the game.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Georgia State's Ryan Clark, Mike Buchanan and Justin Newman had consecutive singles to load the bases, ending a streak of 10 straight retired by WCU starter Mike McGowan. Ryan Sterling then cleared the bases with a grand slam over the left field fence, making the score 6-2.
The Catamounts trimmed their deficit to two, 6-4, in the top of the sixth. Davis had a leadoff home run, his fifth blast of the season. Greenwood drew a walk and moved to second on a Nelson single. Penland followed an RBI single up the middle, scoring Greenwood.
Western took its first lead with one out in the top of the eighth. After a strikeout to start the frame, Brian Sigmon singled and moved to second when Penland was walked. Edick came into the game as a pinch hitter and sent the second pitch he saw over the left field fence for a three-run home run, making the score 7-6 in WCU's favor.
Georgia State answered in the bottom of the eighth. Rusty Bennett tied the game at 7-7 with a leadoff home run to right.
From that point, relief pitchers Ellenburg (WCU) and Cody Webb (GSU) turned in excellent performances. Webb (0-2) suffered the loss, pitching 5.2 solid innings. He allowed five hits and three runs - all unearned - with four walks (two intentional) and six strikeouts.
McKown led the WCU offense with three hits, and two RBI. Roper (2-for-6) and Ramsey (2-for-2) each added two hits for the Catamounts, who left 15 runners on base. Western's bullpen did an solid job holding the Panthers, who left eight runners, in check. Brian Barnes retired the only batter he faced in the fifth. Luke Miller allowed one hit and got one strikeout in 1.2 innings. Matt Teague allowed two hits and one run with a strikeout in 0.1 inning before giving way to Ellenburg.
For the Panthers, Newman led the way with three hits, while Tim Burgess, Pelt and Williams each had two hits. Sterling only had one hit, but had four RBI thanks to his grand slam.
Western Carolina and Georgia State will play the second game of their two-game set on Wednesday at 4 pm.